The term tweens is normally defined as the age period of childhood that is between middle childhood and adolescence in human development. This usually occurs between the ages of 8-14 years old. This is the time in a child’s life where he or she is beginning to develop a self-identity and increased feelings of independence. Tweens are influenced by current trends in their culture and the trends they are exposed to in school and social situations. Most tweens are very shallow and desire the things in life that help them fit in to their social circles.
During these years, the focus is on school, athletics and same-sex friendships. The body and brain of a tween is going through major changes. These changes make them very insecure and confused on a daily basis. The short-term memory of a tween is almost non-existent. Impulse control is gone as well as the ability to predict cause and effect. These changes in impulse control impair the ability to cope with peer pressure. Smoking, drugs and sex addictions may be formed at this time.
On top of all these changes, tweens are also seeking independence from their parents. They start to question where they fit into the world. They wonder who they are and who they are becoming. It is a heightened period of development where social relationships define who they are. Tweens want to fit in with their cohorts and not feel like they are left out. Being left out on purpose is a form of bullying which is called social exclusion. When tweens do not fit in, they can feel anger, jealousy, hurt, rejection and fear. These feelings can lead to a sense of isolation and in extreme cases it can lead to suicide.
Bullying can also be hitting, pushing, teasing, name-calling, threatening and taking or ruining someone else’s belongings. It can also include saying mean or untrue things about someone in person, online or in emails. Bullies want to have power and control over other kids. Sometimes they feel bad about themselves and if they can pick on someone else, they believe they will feel better. The kids that are most likely to experience bullying are those that are different. The difference can virtually be anything from hair color, to accent, a disability or the types of clothes they wear. Bullies also pick on helpless kids and kids that are alone. The bully can get away with it if a kid is isolated and alone.
No one deserves to be bullied under any circumstances. There are things that can be done to stop bullying. The most recommend plan of action is to tell an adult. An adult can help the victim of bullying become assertive and stand up to the bully. Another strategy is to avoid the bully as much as possible. The child can enlist teachers and bus drivers with help. Victims need to know they are never at fault, they do not deserve this under any circumstances.
If the bullying continues, it is time to set up a meeting with the school principal. It must be very clear that the bad behavior must end. The parent should follow up with the teachers and principal in a few weeks. Sometimes it may be necessary to meet with the bullies’ parents. This should only be set up when a school official such as a teacher, guidance counselor or the principal is present. Prevention and education is the best way to prevent bullying among tweens.